Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • In praise of petroleum?

Shares
A preparatory paper written for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development was based on the premise that, for those in developing countries as for everyone else, only renewable energy sources qualify as sustainable.

In this opinion article, Kirk Smith argues that this premise is flawed. He says that the provision of household fuel such as liquefied petroleum gas to the world's poor would not appreciably add to the environmental burden of fossil fuels.

Furthermore, few of the renewable technologies available to replace fossil fuels are affordable, reliable or suitable for the rural poor. Smith questions whether it makes sense to ask developing nations to take on novel devices and fuels that have never been tried elsewhere, just to avoid a relatively small increase in greenhouse gas emissions or shorten the petroleum era by a few weeks.

Link to Science editorial

Reference: Science 298, 1847 (2002)
Republish
We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.